THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION(!) – JANUARY 14, 2022
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“We’re being killed as surely as when they brought us the smallpox blankets, and wrapped us in poison. We’re being wrapped in a poison that kills the air, the water and the Earth, and that kills my people.”
— Casey Camp-Horinek, a tribal elder and official environmental ambassador for the Ponca Tribe, speaking on the impacts of oil and gas pollution on Indigenous communities.
“For those who understand the land and water to be our relatives, not resources, there is no choice but to fight for their health and survival as well as that of future human generations.
— Jo Christian, an artist and activist who spent time at Line 3 frontlines this summer, speaking during a call to spread awareness about the Drop the Charges campaign.
LCV IN THE NEWS:
NPR: U.S. greenhouse gas emissions jumped in 2021, a threat to climate goals
Time: The Ubiquitous Yellow School Bus Can Be Turned Into a Force for Climate Change Good
E&E News: White House environment aide announces departure
OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:
LCV’s affiliates are hard at work protecting the environment and fighting climate change in the states. Here’s what people are reading across the country:
WRAL (NC): Redistricting trial closing statement — Zach Scauf, for the League of Conservation Voters
Business Insider (VA): Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin nominates Trump’s former EPA administrator to become the state’s natural resources secretary, fueling an outcry from Democrats
Florida Politics (FL): Jeff Brandes, Ben Diamond file bipartisan bills to prevent another Piney Point disaster
Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls Press (ID): Legislative items on conservation radar
Miami Herald (FL): Florida Senate advances its redistricting maps with lightning speed — and a warning
Spectrum News 1 (NY): Environmental groups: Make it easier to buy an electric car in New York
DELIVER FOR VOTING RIGHTS MARCH PREVIEW!: On Monday, regardless of rain or snow, LCV will join voting rights leaders and advocates, including the King family, to march in D.C. and urge Congress to pass critical voting rights legislation. On Saturday, Arizona, LCV and Chispa are partnering with The African American Christian Clergy Coalition (AACCC) to demand action for democracy with a march in Phoenix featuring our recently commissioned mural, Defend our Freedom to Vote, by artist Francisco Garcia. The mural highlights the past and present leaders of the ongoing fight for voting rights and encourages Senator Kyrsten Simena to help pass voting legislation. The Senate delivered for bridges — now it’s time for the Senate to deliver for voting rights. See more information on the upcoming events in D.C. and Arizona HERE.
MLK III TAKE: Ahead of the marches, Martin Luther King III stated, “MLK Day has always been a day on, not off. When we call for ‘no celebration without legislation,’ we’re not urging Americans not to honor this day — we’re asking people to honor Dr. King through action to protect the right to vote. We’re directly calling on Congress not to pay lip service to my father’s ideals without doing the very thing that would protect his legacy: pass voting rights legislation.”
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT ON ENDORSEMENTS AND VOTING RIGHTS: This week, in an unprecedented joint decision, a collection of major election and advocacy organizations – including LCV – sent a letter to senators indicating that we will only consider endorsements for those who take all the necessary measures to pass the key voting rights and pro-democracy legislation currently being considered in the Senate. The letter comes at a time of dire threats to our democracy and votes are expected next week. Read the full letter HERE.
OUR TAKE: In the letter, the coalition of organizations stated, “At this existential moment for our democracy, our organizations have made the decision to only consider endorsements for senators in their next election who take all necessary measures to pass the key voting rights and pro-democracy reform provisions currently included in the Freedom to Vote Act and John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, including reforming Senate Rules if necessary. Vocally supporting the right to vote without being fully committed to passing critical legislation into law will be insufficient to receive the endorsement of our organizations.”
OUR FIGHT FOR VOTING RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY REFORM IS STRONGER THAN EVER: LCV has been in the fight for voting rights and democracy reforms for years because we know that we cannot have a healthy environment without a healthy democracy. The majority of people in this country overwhelmingly support protecting our democracy and want to see action on climate. See LCV’s latest memo showing why our fight for voting rights legislation and democracy reform is stronger than ever.
OUR TAKEAWAY: LCV National Voting Rights Program Director Justin Kwasa and LCV Advocacy Director for Judiciary & Democracy Doug Lindner wrote, “These threats to our democracy are particularly harmful to people of color, indigenous people, young people, and those who have a disability – the same communities that bear the burden of environmental harms that threaten our air, water, and climate. The good news for all of our communities is that – like climate action – passing democracy reforms is both good policy and good politics. Between the key bills we are fighting for, the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, and the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, we can expand voter access, increase transparency and fairness in our campaign finance system, root out corruption, secure our voting systems, and make Washington work for the people – including the disenfranchised residents of Washington, D.C.”
BIDEN + HARRIS WEIGH IN ON VOTING RIGHTS: This week, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris went to Georgia to rally support for critical voting rights legislation — even if it means reforming archaic senate rules blockading the process. In 2021, 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting, and over 440 bills with provisions restricting voting access were introduced in 49 states. We must pass voting rights legislation at the national level to protect voters, particularly voters in communities of color and rural communities, from greater barriers to the ballot box.
OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski stated, “We couldn’t agree more with President Biden and Vice President Harris that the Senate must immediately pass the Freedom to Vote Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, Protecting Our Democracy Act, and Washington, D.C. Admission Act. The fundamental right to vote — the cornerstone of our democracy — is too important to let the filibuster stand in the way. If Republican senators continue to obstruct legislation to protect voting rights, Democratic senators must change the Senate’s rules in order to ensure every voter’s voice is heard. Our democracy cannot wait any longer.”
TOP 10 TAKEAWAYS FROM 2021 POLLING: This week, leading environmental groups, including LCV, released a new memo highlighting critical environmental and climate polling from 2021. As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest report shows, the climate crisis is increasingly impacting communities across our country. Last year was the fourth warmest reported year and had the highest number of climate related deaths in a decade. Read the polling memo HERE and read highlights below and HERE.
1. Climate change is top of mind
2. Climate change is linked with extreme weather
3. Extreme heat, wildfires, and droughts most recognized as climate-driven
4. Republican voters’ attitudes toward clean energy highly malleable
5. Significant numbers of Republican voters disagree with how their party leaders are handling climate and environmental issues
6. Climate change a top-tier priority for Democratic voters
7. The Build Back Better plan is popular, and resilient
8. Americans support climate action in Build Back Better, and want more
9. Scientists are still trusted messengers on climate change
10. The public wants to hold corporate polluters accountable for their damage
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior National Campaigns Director Megan Jacobs stated, “As we begin a new year, we have to learn from the deadly and devastating climate-fueled extreme weather of 2021: the fires that have raged out west, the dangerous heat and record high-temperatures, and the deadly floods and storms. An overwhelming majority of communities across the country saw and experienced these impacts in 2021, so it should come as no surprise that an overwhelming majority of voters want to see action on climate, and they want to see it now.”
SEN. JOHNSON TO RUN AGAIN 👎: This week, Senator Ron Johnson announced that he will run for reelection this year. Johnson is a habitual climate denier with a 0% score on LCV’s 2020 National Environmental Scorecard. As our entire country, including Wisconsinites, continue to experience the devastating impacts of the climate crisis, climate and environmental justice are top of voters’ minds (☝), and it’s clear that Johnson does not measure up.
OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund Regional Campaigns Director Joann Saridakis had this to say: “Unlike Ron Johnson, Wisconsin voters know climate change is not bullshit. Wisconsinites deserve a U.S. senator committed to lowering prices, creating good-paying jobs, and building a healthier, more equitable clean energy future – not Ron Johnson, a longtime climate-denier with an astounding 0% score on LCV’s 2020 Scorecard. As Wisconsin families suffer following a year of record-breaking heat and costly extreme weather events, on top of another year of a devastating and deadly pandemic, Johnson’s allegiance is with the fossil fuel industry that has donated over $600,000 to his campaigns. Climate and environmental justice are on the ballot in Wisconsin in 2022 and LCV Victory Fund is all in to defeat one of the staunchest climate deniers in U.S. history.”
BUILDING BACK BETTER WILL SAVE CONSUMERS MONEY: This week’s Consumer Price Index report on inflation made clear that increases in prices are hurting families all across the country. In this moment, it remains clear that there is no time to waste in passing the Build Back Better Act, which, on many fronts – from energy to healthcare to child care – will save people money. In fact, when the Build Back Better Act becomes law, families can expect to save $500 a year on their energy costs alone. And this is only one of the many ways that people will benefit – with transformative climate provisions, we’ll experience reduced air pollution and lower the carbon emissions that are fueling extreme weather.
OUR TAKE: Senior Director of Government Affairs Matthew Davis stated, “There’s no question families are squeezed right now by high prices and that is precisely why we need to pass the Build Back Better Act which experts agree will lower costs from energy, health care, childcare and more. Fossil fuels are a huge driver of cost increases – they are volatile and costly – to our health, to our pocketbooks and to our climate – and are vulnerable to climate-fueled extreme weather. The Build Back Better Act will help combat inflation, lower energy costs and protect working families–including by saving the average family $500 a year on their energy bills while reducing air pollution and lowering carbon emissions. Just as importantly, the costs of inaction are catastrophic. As NOAA reported earlier this week, there were 20 climate-fueled weather disaster events in the U.S. last year with losses exceeding $1 billion each for a total of $145 billion. We are paying a high price for pollution and climate change, and, if we fail to act, these catastrophic costs will only continue to rise. The most important action we can take right now to address these costs is to pass the overwhelmingly popular Build Back Better Act immediately.”
PROTECTIONS FOR THE ARCTIC!: This week, the Biden-Harris administration took steps to restore protections for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. This is a welcome step by President Biden’s Interior Department, as it reverses a Trump administration policy that opened large portions of the Arctic to fossil fuel development.
…NOW WE MUST PROTECT AVI KWA AME: This week, U.S. Representatives Dina Titus and Susie Lee, both from Nevada, urged the Biden administration to protect Avi Kwa Ame as a new national monument. The proposed monument features dramatic peaks, scenic canyons, sloping bajadas covered with ancient Joshua tree forests, unique grasslands, and a rich history of rock art and other cultural sites. Titus held a press conference in support of protecting Avi Kwa Ame with Clark County Commissioner Mike Naft and local leaders on Friday.
OFFSHORE WIND: This week, the administration announced offshore wind lease sales off the coast of New York and New Jersey, the largest wind lease sale in our country’s history. Importantly, this lease sale is built around environmental justice and includes important labor protections while also outlining plans for upgrading and expanding critical transmission infrastructure, piloting a clean energy program to underserved rural communities, and more. These are key components to meeting President Biden’s commitments to install 25 gigawatts of renewable power by 2025 and 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030.
NYLCV TAKE: New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe said, “From the Build Back Better Act to advancing clean energy projects, President Biden’s administration is clearly prioritizing climate action. Today’s announcement by BOEM of new lease areas for auction in the New York bight will accomplish critical goals in tandem: generate enough clean energy to power more than two million homes, cut our reliance on fossil fuels, and create good-paying union jobs. Offshore wind will continue to play a crucial role as we strive to fight climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and green our grid, and we thank BOEM Administrator Amanda Lefton for her leadership on offshore wind development.”
NJLCV TAKE: New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Ed Potosnak said, “In his action today, President Biden is clearly highlighting his continued commitment to taking quick action to address our growing climate crisis. Today’s announcement by the Biden administration to lease areas off the Jersey Shore will accomplish two goals: expand access to clean, renewable offshore wind while creating family-sustaining union jobs to build a 21st century clean energy economy. We look forward to working with Governor Murphy and his administration on getting projects permitted for approval in these new leasing areas as quickly as possible even as we continue our advocacy for Build Back Better, the president’s signature initiative to fight climate change by investing in policies, like offshore wind, that create jobs while protecting our communities and curbing climate pollution.”
OUR TAKE: LCV Government Affairs Advocate for Climate Change and Clean Energy David Shadburn said, “Today’s announcements build on the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis and creating good clean energy jobs. We are thrilled that the administration finalized plans to hold the largest offshore wind lease sale in U.S. history, all while centering environmental justice, providing good-paying union jobs with a project labor agreement, and looking comprehensively at the supply chain to ensure that the economic benefits of clean energy development are felt across the country…These announcements also highlight how the Build Back Better Act is critical to meeting the clean energy deployment and emissions reduction targets that science and justice demand. The Senate must pass the Build Back Better Act without delay.”
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:
FROM THE FIELD: Across the nation, LCV’s field team continues to hear that communities across the country want climate action now – we’ve knocked on over 465,000 doors, and have talked with people about the Build Back Better Act and its critical climate provisions! Every day we hear from community members who would like to see tangible steps taken toward mitigating climate change — in fact, over 21,000 businesses are displaying their support for climate action.
BUDGETING FOR CLIMATE IN CA: This week, California Governor Gavin Newsom released the state’s budget blueprint, which proposes $22.5 billion to combat the climate crisis. Specifically, the California Blueprint would allocate funding toward forest health and fire protection, a drought package, nature-based climate solutions like ocean and coastal protections, clean energy, zero-emission vehicles, climate-focused workforce development, and more.
ENVIROVOTERS TAKE: California Environmental Voters Chief Executive Officer Mary Creasman said, “We applaud Governor Newsom for raising the bar with his proposed budget on how we approach the climate crisis holistically and for increasing the state’s overall focus on this urgent crisis. These are beginning to be the numbers we need to see in California to take the crisis seriously. It should be exciting to all of us that we are starting to see the urgency of the climate crisis reflected in our state budget.”
OFF TO A GOOD START IN MD: On the first day of Maryland’s legislative session this year, climate action was among the top priorities for lawmakers. Last year, the state legislature came close to passing an omnibus climate bill, but fell short in the last hours of the legislative session. Both chambers are headed into the new session with renewed resolve to pass ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions.
January 15th — AZ Deliver for Voting Rights Mobilization
January 17th — Martin Luther King Jr. Day + D.C. Peace Walk